Her feet clacked loudly along the linoleum floor of the Supermarket, wearing her favorite boots and having spent 15 minutes extra on herself before she left the house might make this bearable…Shopping of any kind was always portrayed as a woman’s idea of fun in the media. Even thinking this made her white knuckle grip on the shopping bags tighten more. She loathed shopping and all it entailed…Violent wasters! she scorned.
Today like a lot of days of late; a pulsating energy raged through her it threatened to tear her open, she recognized what it was…self loathing brought on by frustration.
The indomitable guile and strength Chiara had once exuded had now been replaced by a sense of helplessness and despair. Her entire being had evaporated and a hologram with down cast hazel eyes progressed through out her life in Chiara’s place.
Hollow and vapid, she felt like it had been years since she had been anything. She lied to herself and layered herself in an acceptable disguise that included a faux jubilant smile. The truth was no matter how presentable she was she was completely spent, it was her 36th birthday in five days and she felt so much older. She was in a rut…jaded and dangerously teetering towards bitter.
Trying hard to forget she just could not stop reliving the exact moment the last fragile strand of hope holding heart together had snapped. She presented to the world her winning smile while her insides were decimated. At times she was sure she could taste the emotional decay, coming up from inside her chest cavity – it was palatable.
They had been fourteen years ago that she had first fallen in love with him, two children and years of marriage had left her with a life that was vacuous. She was empty, no longer working at the marriage, no longer caring to continue the pointless pleas, she had to admit defeat; one cannot mend a broken relationship on their own and she was certainly not in any mind to look for anyone else
Chiara was in the smack bang in the middle of her child rearing years. Tobias at Four years of age was at Kindergarten and Oliver was just turning nine and not enjoying school, his birthday was only two weeks after hers. The trip to the Supermarket for Oliver’s birthday motivated her enough this day to make an effort, lost in thought planning her sons birthday she moved along through the isles. Smiling to the oldies and children was always the way to make it more bearable. Each smile back was like a pat on the back and if it came from a tiny infant more like a warm hug. She hated herself when she felt like this and reminded herself there are people living through much, much worse.
She furrowed her brow.
Grin…on goes the smile and on goes her day.
Why do men get all the benefits of a family without any real sacrifice? she thought tight lipped as she reached for the number nine birthday candle.
“Hi Chiara!” a shrill voice bought her back again and with a painted smile she feigned delight. “Menka – how have you been?” After a brief exchange the women went their different ways.
Did she see it? Did she notice? Did she see straight through me? Did she see the pathetic me or the bright shinny me?
Chiara’s hands began to shake and her cheeks flushed bright red.
Emotion washed over her. I am going to go mad and end up living in my car…! Dropping the candle she abandoned her pathetic attempt to boost her mood and headed to the nearest Exit. She needed to get to the car to release the tears she could feel welling. Her face blotched in crimson patches; she was instantly wet with perspiration.
Not far come on, you can’t lose it, you’re okay, it’s not that bad, just make it to the car.
Fumbling for the keys she knew her sunglasses would only hide so much, BLIP – the doors opened and as she climbed into the seat and heard the door slam shut she put her hands over her face and began to wail. What am I doing?! The anger rose up inside her, she hated this, she hated herself for being so weak and before she realized what she was doing she was pounding the steering wheel with her fists “FUCK – FUCK – FUCK!” she screamed.
TAP – TAP – TAP! Stunned Chiara looked up to see an old gentleman peeping into her window gesturing with her purse. Wiping the tears and snot away, winding down the window the old man passed her purse through the opening. “Sorry luv ya’ dropped this, you okay?” his eyebrows furrowed quizzically. “Oh thanks (world swallow me up now) I. Uh…thanks, I’m fine. Thank you.” The old gent gave her arm a squeeze “You’ll be right love, take it easy, it’s not that bad is it?” Dabbing at her eyes and nose with a crummy hanky mercifully left in the console she nodded back and managed a faint smile. “See you’ve got a lovely smile” and smiling himself walked away. Her entire face turned bright red. Oh my a compliment. She didn’t know whether to feel flattered or sad that she was so grateful for it. Thank god for small mercies – and lovely old gentlemen. She thought as she clutched at her purse and wet handkerchief maneuvering the car from its parking bay. She feel small and humiliated, disappointed by her loss of control and afraid that it might be the sign of something bigger that was happening something that she just could not face, denial is a useful thing when it comes to functioning.
The wind picked up and slammed the door behind her. She entered the house windswept and belittled. The cigarette smoke hung thick in the air. I’ll be polite – the last vestige of the civilized human being. ‘Hey, how was your day? She said through her standardized delivery of a painted smile. He was still good looking even after all these years. He and his dark hair, chestnut eyes, gorgeous olive skin and perfect features. Features small enough to sit well on a woman; a small well formed nose, sweet petite lips and tiny ears, unusual for a man but on David they only made him more handsome. Looking at him staring into the television screen, she felt the love she had for him still and smiled to herself as she was glad to see those features reflected in the faces of her two little boys. Her eyes welled with tears, she wanted him to look at her, to see her and to ask perhaps how her day had been, and she’d forgive him in an instant. His eyes were glued to the set; he shuffled in his chair and waved his hand. “SHHHH! I’m watching this” his tone was harsh and abrupt. Wiping her tears she resigned herself once again to the fact that she was indeed dismally unhappy. It never ceased to amaze her, the level of loneliness that can be achieved while married. He had single handedly wiped out any friendships Chi’ had tried to maintain, he was a very successful businessman with no interpersonal skills what so ever. He was overbearing and self absorbed his focus was for himself and the accumulation of newer bigger and better anything. To her it was just new junk.
When they were young David offered Chiara the macho traditional elements that had been so greatly lacking during her life. She had never really known her father and yearned for the stability that David seemed to represent. He could be a surprisingly sensitive man but now only treated his wife with contempt. Or a thinly veiled contempt. The two had grown apart. Once it was their sense of humor, their ability to see things from the same perspective or the physical attraction that kept them going. She now lamented even that has been eroded by the constant lack of regard shown by her domineering, self centered husband.
In the bathroom, she wiped her nose and stared into the sink. In the lounge his phone rang – a garbled murmur then…the back door, the engine, him backing out.
No hello, not even a goodbye…..So much for polite.
Her jaw clenched.
Strong currents pull and draw me.
Abstinence while pursuing unobtainable personal of perfection.
Madonna whore syndrome…
Even the anguish is pleasurable.